Attention around the gender pay gap—by which the average full-time female worker earns only 80 cents for every dollar earned by a male—has rightfully increased over the last few years.
But there is less awareness about the gender wage gap by race.
Women in general earn 80 cents for every dollar a man earns. This represents nearly $10,500 in lower annual earnings, or around $875 a month. That’s enough to pay a month’s rent in some areas of the country.
But the gender pay gap by race shows how women of color must work even harder to make the same amount as white, non-Hispanic men.
STAGGERING WAGE DIFFERENCES
The gender wage gap by race shows that while women in general earn 80 cents for every dollar a man earns, the average woman of color makes even less.
For women of color, this means they must work extra days to earn the same wages made by white, non-Hispanic men in a year.
It’s a maddening but important thing to bring up today, as we team up with the National Organization for Women to raise awareness on this Latina Equal Pay Day.
Today is the 306th day of the year. That’s the total number of extra days Latinas had to work this year to earn the same wages made by white, non-Hispanic men at the end of 2016.
The long-term economic consequences of this inequity are devastating. Over her career, the typical Latina loses over $1 million dollars due to the racial and gender pay gap. And what’s more, this pay gap persists regardless of Latinas’ education level or occupation.
THE RACIAL AND GENDER WAGE GAP AFFECT US ALL
The racial and gender pay gap continues to undermine the economic security of millions of Latinas and their families. The National Women’s Law Center reports that Latinas who work are more likely to have children than women overall, and that Latina mothers who work full-time, year-round make just 46 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic fathers.
As a result, while almost 3 million households in the United States are headed by Latinas, 40% of those families are living below the poverty line.
These lost wages mean Latinas and their families have less money to save for the future, spend on necessities, and ensure the well-being of themselves and their families.
What’s more, the success of our country and growth of our economy depends on the success and growth of the Latino community. By 2050, Pew Research Center predicts Latinos will make up nearly a third of our nation’s population by 2050.
WHAT WE CAN DO
Policy initiatives such as raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour—which would benefit 1 in 5 Latinas—and cracking down on wage theft are just two of the many things policymakers can do to ensure women reach pay parity with men. This would be a reflection of our fundamental national values of justice and fairness.
So on this Latina Equal Pay Day, let’s stand up for all hard-working Latina mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, and grandmothers, and demand equal pay for equal work.